How can I outsource IT work

IT services

Companies today are under increasing competitive pressure. In a globalized market they have to assert themselves against competitors from all over the world. If you want to keep your customers, win new ones and expand your own competitive position, you have to grow and drive innovation. For this, companies need suitable specialists - especially in IT. Because it forms the basis for almost all business processes and creates the conditions for successful digitization. So it's no wonder that IT experts are more in demand than ever. For many companies, however, it is difficult to assert themselves on the job market against large corporations, which often have the more attractive image and fish out the best applicants.

The shortage of skilled workers affects sales, growth and strategy

The tense situation can become an existential threat for some. In the Swabian town of Oberkochen, for example, resident companies are rioting because a South Korean toolmaker wants to settle there. While the local politicians are cheering about the around 1000 new jobs and the enrichment for the region, industry and commerce see the shortage of skilled workers aggravated. Current figures show that such concerns are also appropriate in the IT industry: According to a survey by the industry association Bitkom, three out of four companies complain about a shortage of skilled workers.

There are currently 55,000 positions open for IT specialists, and the trend is rising. According to the career portal Indeed, 30 percent of these are advertised for longer than 60 days and are therefore the most difficult to fill. Particularly alarming: 57 percent of companies complain about a drop in sales due to the shortage of skilled workers, according to a study by the consulting firm Ernst & Young. Overall, the German SME sector misses out on annual sales of 53.4 billion euros. In addition, the strategies that form the foundation for the future of these companies cannot be implemented without these specialists. Growth and future intentions cannot be realized in this way. So what can companies do to stay on top of IT, especially in IT, despite a shortage of skilled workers?

External know-how for your own IT

IT experts can't be pulled out of their hats, but you can find them with specialized service providers. By outsourcing selected IT tasks, companies can benefit from the know-how of a managed services provider. At the same time, your own IT employees gain the freedom to take care of the areas that add value. According to a survey by the Association of German Engineers (VDI), 52 percent of companies are already taking this route and outsourcing IT tasks. Against the background of the shortage of skilled workers, this has not only become socially acceptable, it has often become a necessity for survival.

What should you outsource?

Standard IT tasks that take up a lot of time but add nothing to added value are suitable for outsourcing. This includes, for example, the provision and administration of infrastructure, backups, e-mail operations, monitoring or the help desk with service and support. Such jobs tie up resources that most companies urgently need in other areas, for example for innovative topics such as automation and consolidation of IT. If the IT department purchases the standard services from a provider, its own employees have more time to concentrate on the value-adding tasks and receive further training in them.

A second area that lends itself to outsourcing is the introduction of new systems and platforms. For example, where should the experts come from when companies want to switch to SAP HANA? Specialists are rare on the job market, and building up the right know-how is complex and time-consuming. It is therefore advisable to use the know-how of a managed services provider who has already carried out numerous HANA migrations and is familiar with the common problems and solutions. This avoids complications, saves your own resources, and the new system is ready for use more quickly.

  1. Better outsourcing contracts
    Ten tips provide orientation on the way to a fair contract. They are based on the experience of numerous outsourcing negotiations that the sourcing advisory company Alsbridge has conducted.
  2. Inexpensive instead of cheap
    The cheapest price is not always the best offer. A market price benchmark from a specialized, independent consulting company provides information on IT prices that are customary in the market.
  3. Use diversity
    The IT service provider market is international and very heterogeneous. Every company will find the right service provider for its corporate culture here. An honest look at your own company and its possibilities is extremely important.
  4. Brevity is the soul of wit
    Please do not have a contract term of more than five years. The innovation cycle, competition and price volatility in the IT industry are enormous. The shorter the term, the lower the risk of being “trapped” in an out of date contract.
  5. But now out
    IT is fast moving. The negotiation and anchoring of notice periods should therefore be given high priority. In the optimal case, only the fees for which the service provider is charged will be due.
  6. Mirror Mirror
    As with clothing, the same applies to contracts: your own company determines the scope. Instead of all-inclusive contracts, it is better to rely on customized work based on the organizational maturity of your own company. Single sourcing is easier to control, multi-sourcing offers more possibilities.
  7. Two pounds of outsourcing, please
    The statement of work should be as detailed as possible. It should also be possible to add innovations to the benefit of one's own company at a later date. The service provider's ready-made templates should be avoided.
  8. Sliced ​​or in one piece?
    Service Level Agreements (SLAs), together with the description of services, serve to define the scope of the services that are provided by the service provider. The SLAs should be aligned with the company's business goals. They should also be able to be reviewed annually and adjusted if necessary.
  9. the price is hot
    The pricing is also varied for IT outsourcing. Here the operating costs should be kept at the lowest possible level. Exchange rate risks should be borne by the provider. An annual review and renewal of the pricing as well as the option of renegotiating is recommended.
  10. Where are you walking?
    In all ITO projects, the control of the contract and the service provider-customer relationship is of great importance. A good contract precisely defines specific teams, responsibilities, technical requirements and escalation levels.
  11. ITO projects are in both
    technologically and contractually highly complex. Before an unsatisfactory contract situation becomes manifest for several years, it is advisable to consult sourcing consultants as experts. They help in all phases of outsourcing.

On the other hand, old legacy systems also require expert knowledge, which is becoming increasingly rare. Many small and medium-sized companies, for example, still use the IBM AS / 400 as a platform for their core applications. But the IT staff who are familiar with it are gradually retiring. This also means that the corresponding specialist knowledge disappears in the company, because this area is not attractive for the next generation. Young graduates do not want to care for dinosaurs, they want to work on modern projects. Here, too, a managed services provider can fill the gap. For him, it is worthwhile to train employees in the old systems and to keep the specialist knowledge available.

The same applies to IT security. There are hardly enough security specialists to meet the increasingly complex security requirements. Only a few companies manage to build up the required know-how themselves. That is why managed security services are on the rise. The provider monitors the infrastructure as a service offer in a professional security operations center. The security teams have access to the customers' systems at all times and immediately initiate countermeasures in the event of an attack. In this way, they support companies in protecting themselves against the growing cyber threats in the best possible way without having to build up their own know-how.

Find the right managed services provider

Of course, you first have to find a good managed services provider. Companies should take their time for this. Because outsourcing IT is a matter of trust. It can only work if the client can be sure that the service provider carries out the tasks just as well or better than the in-house IT team. The following questions therefore arise: Does the managed services provider have the necessary expertise? Does he have a sufficiently large team of well-trained experts? Can it cover all areas that I want to outsource? Can I reach him around the clock at the help desk? Does it have certified quality and safety standards? Which manufacturers does he have partnerships with and how closely does he work with them? Leaderboards and benchmarks can provide a first clue. It is also advisable to pay attention to references and certifications. It is also important that the provider offers individual service level agreements in which he adapts and precisely defines the scope of services for the managed services to the needs of the company.

Future-proof despite a shortage of skilled workers

With topics such as IoT, Industry 4.0, Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, companies are facing new IT challenges that they have to master in addition to day-to-day operations. The need for IT experts will continue to grow. According to a survey by the industry association Bitkom, more than half of the ICT companies expect the shortage of skilled workers to worsen in the future. In order to still meet the challenges of digitization and to remain competitive, it is essential for companies to use their internal resources correctly and to supplement them effectively with external services. In this way, they can succeed in positioning themselves for the future even in times of a shortage of skilled workers.